Following the election
Marriott International's CEO, Arne Sorenson (pictured)
of hotelier Donald Trump to the presidency, hospitality industry leaders spoke up about their hopes, fears and advice for the new administration.
Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, took to his LinkedIn page
to voice his concerns to the incoming administration, addressing LGBT and immigration issues, among others. "Everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or identity, has a right to live without interference in their private lives," he wrote. "Similarly, everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or identity, gender, race, religion, disability or ethnicity, should have an equal opportunity to get a job, start a business or be served by a business."
He added, "Once steps have been made to enhance security on our borders, we should move swiftly to figure out what to do with the undocumented immigrants already here. Let's take appropriate steps to ensure that these 11 million people can help make America stronger by paying taxes, investing in the future and continuing to contribute to our communities."
Speaking for the U.S. Travel Association, president and CEO Roger Dow expressed optimism for the industry's ability to work on infrastructure and other key travel-related issues. "Mr. Trump demonstrated throughout his campaign that travel and infrastructure issues have his attention, and we stand ready to advise his administration on achieving his stated aims in these areas," Dow said. "We are encouraged that Mr. Trump's extensive business and hospitality background -- not to mention that travel accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. exports and creates jobs in every single congressional district -- will make him a ready and receptive ear for our agenda."
In a statement from the American Society of Association Executives, president and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE, waxed philosophical: "No matter how we feel personally about the outcome, we as association leaders have a unique challenge and opportunity to impact public policy in a positive way and put our resources to work for the betterment of society. ... Associations have always had much to give, and our role in the world has never been more important."
Looking to the next four years, given Trump's campaign positions, industry attorney Joshua L. Grimes of the Grimes Law Offices in Philadelphia expressed some concerns about the potential effect on meetings: more stringent immigration policies causing labor shortages at hotels, restaurants and farms; greater hurdles for foreign citizens to attend meetings in the U.S.; costs fluctuations for meetings held outside the U.S. due to changing trade policies and currency valuations; and more lax business regulation, leading to fewer safety rules and more hidden fees from suppliers.